While it may be unknown to most Tampa residents, those in Seminole Heights might be more aware of the history and mystery surrounding their neighborhood high school. Hillsborough High School claims the title of the oldest high school in Hillsborough County and is actually one of the oldest schools in the entire southeastern U.S.
Hillsborough High’s first campus was just a room over a livery stable on Franklin Street in 1885. After moving around Tampa a total of eight different times, the school finally settled in its current location on Central Avenue in 1928.
The massive red brick building was designed by local architect Francis Kennard in the Gothic Revival style and will be celebrating its 90th anniversary this year. The school’s origins were only discovered in 2003, when documents preserved in the cornerstone of the building Hillsborough occupied in 1911 confirmed that the school actually welcomed its first students in 1882 and graduated its first class of four students in 1886.
Hillsborough boasts alumni notable both in Tampa and the greater United States, including Cesar Gonzmart of the Columbia Restaurant, MLB player Gary Sheffield, former mayors Julian Lane and Dick Greco, and elected officials including former Rep. Charles Edward Bennett, the longest-serving member of either chamber of the U.S. Congress.